Thursday 18 January 2018

Maximising use of your Apprenticeship (Training) Levy

All Local Authority Maintained Schools are able to use their apprenticeship (training) levy funds to pay for qualifications for both new and existing staff. 

Despite being described by the Government as an ‘Apprenticeship’ Levy, the funds (available in a digital account) can be used to pay for qualifications up to postgraduate level and there are no longer any limits on the age of learner or number of hours worked. Staff with previous qualifications may also be able to access this training provided they can demonstrate they are learning substantial new skills.

The council’s Organisational Development Team will assist schools to maximise the use of the funds in supporting succession planning and addressing recruitment and retention challenges. 

If schools are seeking to advertise a vacancy, all are encouraged to consider if there is an opportunity to offer training and a qualification with the new role which may be funded by the levy. Existing staff are also are encouraged to talk to their managers/supervisors about training opportunities in line with School Development Plans. 

For any qualification requests that are supported by Headteachers, staff will be able to apply via the External Qualifications, Conferences and Training link in MyApps on the council’s Intranet, and via a link here on eRriding. 

The link has been published below:

Application for External Qualifications, Training and Conferences 

How will the Apprenticeship Levy work?

We have included a table of information below which breaks down the 'basics' of the levy for groups of schools - either LA-maintained, VA/Foundation or Academy. For those LA Maintained schools, as staff are employed by ERYC, they are included in the Council’s levy and so will be contributing 0.5% of their individual pay bill. 

The annual levy contribution will be split into 12 and each month, the funds will appear in an online digital account which the Council’s Apprenticeship Service Coordinator will manage on behalf of schools and all council services. We receive a 10% top up on our funds too so this will also be split and allocated to each respective school.

The funds can then be used to pay for training for both new and existing staff as long as the training is an accredited apprenticeship standard or framework qualification. There are no age limits and an individual does not have to work a minimum number of hours. They do have to be contracted for a minimum of a year and a day though and their contract must be sufficient in length to complete the qualification. 

We also have to be mindful that an 'apprentice' must be allowed 20% off-the-job training (they must not be carrying out their work duties but be spending time on the qualification - either completing written work, shadowing/meeting with mentor etc). We will be working with providers to identify how this 20% off the job training is delivered to minimise impact in the workplace.

Schools will be asked to give 'due regard' to creating apprenticeship opportunities - as an authority, it will be expected that 2.3% of our workforce is undertaking an apprentice qualification each year. We are asking schools to simply continue to consider how the levy could be used for CPD and/or training for newly employed staff.

Accessing levy funds 

In the attachments below, we have illustrated the implementation arrangements from May 2017. We will have greater 'buying power' if we can commission training on behalf of a group of schools hence the suggestion that we have request 'windows'. 

If schools can provide details of the qualifications they are interested in during these times, we can manage demand and the commissioning. If a school has an immediate need though, we will accept applications outside of these windows. 

We encourage individual staff who want to undertake a qualification (potentially funded by the levy) to complete the online 'application' form (details below). This application is authorised by the Headteacher and then also authorises the Council to purchase training on behalf of the school and use their levy funds.

Application for External Qualifications, Conferences and Training

Please use the link above to access the application for External Qualifications, Conferences and Training. If you are asked for a username and password to access the application form, please follow instructions as required. 

On completion, please return to the original link and proceed with the application.

Qualification frameworks and standards

We have attached the latest information on the qualification frameworks and standards that can be funded via the levy. The costs illustrated are per person but we will negotiate these costs with relevant training providers. 

You may be contacted directly by training providers who will offer support in accessing and using your Apprenticeship (Training) Levy.

For all enquiries though, please contact the council’s Apprenticeship Service Coordinator at the address at the foot.

In-house Qualification Provision funded through Apprenticeship (Training) Levy

The council has the approval to deliver a number of apprenticeship qualifications. Please find attached our Frequently Asked Questions about levy-funded qualifications and how the council can support you and your learners.

Anna Barson, Senior Organisational Development Officer
Tel: (01482) 391167/66 

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